Finance and Economics Postgraduate Personal Statement

Example Finance and Economics Postgraduate Personal Statement

I have found my studies in Business Administration at the University of Groningen to be a deeply rewarding and enjoyable experience, through which I have discovered the essential elements of how business organizations strategize and operate, in addition to also acquiring highly developed quantitative and qualitative analytical skills. Although the elements of the course relating to concepts such as marketing and the dynamics of product and labour markets have been an essential part of my education, allowing me to have a well-rounded understanding of the business world, what has really come to dominate my attention as I have progressed in my studies has been the areas of finance and accounting. For although it is important for businesses to have clear strategies in areas such as product development or understanding their target markets, ultimately their fortunes stand or fall based around financial questions. Without prudent financial management, a company will struggle. However, it is not simply the question of company finance that I find fascinating, but also the workings of the financial sector itself. Matters such as how global financial transactions are enacted, how complex acquisitions are financially structured and how financial markets are analysed have become an infinite source of intrigue to me. Now, as I reach the end of my undergraduate studies, I am eager not just to continue my studies, but to specialize in this subject area which is so critically important to how the global economy operates.

There are several areas of the financial world that really charge my motivation to complete postgraduate study, and I am eager to complete modules covering a broad range of subject areas. Over the last three years I have especially taken an interest in the area of leveraged finance. What I find particularly enthralling about this topic is the myriad ways in which debt can be raised and the labyrinth of different implications these have in terms of an organization’s operations and its capital structures. The area of high-risk investments in companies with distressed debt is a particularly curious one, and I have really enjoyed learning more about it through reading Stephen G. Moyer’s Distressed Debt Analysis. Having studied the inter-related areas of venture capital and private equity in my own time through reading various books, I now also closely follow the private equity markets, with the question of the roles played by private equity funds in pension funds and insurance companies seeming to be an especially worthwhile area of study to me. Wherever possible I have tried to gain an appreciation of the technical sides of all these different areas. For example, through reading Joshua Rosenbaum and Joshua Pearl’s Investment Banking I have a much stronger understanding of the methodologies used in investment decision-making and structuring leveraged buyouts.

Preparing to study for Level One of the CFA exams, which I am due to take in January 2013, has provided me with a fantastic impetus to study these subjects and others in more detail. The process of preparing for these exams has helped me to appreciate the intellectual rigour required in working in financial analysis and both the breadth and depth of knowledge it requires. Preparing for the exams has also given me a taster of the exceptionally interesting work that finance professionals carry out every day, and has given me further motivation to continue chasing my ultimate career goal of becoming a financial analyst. I hope to have completed all CFA levels within the next three years in pursuit of this goal.

However, my studies outside of my degree have gone beyond preparing for the CFA exams. I love participating in forums for discussion on economic, business and financial matters wherever possible. For this reason I have attended summer schools over the last two years. This summer I participated in Nyenrode Summer School, where I had the pleasure of being involved in a hands-on introduction to risk management. In the summer of 2011 I attended the LSE Summer School, where my qualitative and quantitative methods were sharpened by completing exercises and case studies related to marketing management.

Beyond my studies I have had the chance to put my business and financial skills to good use through my three years of service on the School Board of a local primary school. I play a leading role in helping to overseas the school’s operational budgets. In close collaboration with others I evaluate all investments made by the school and appraise proposed future spending decisions. I also take responsibility for the budgeting of the extracurricular activities offered by the school, such as its after-hours childcare, the library and study trips. I have really enjoyed both the processes of communicating with and learning from others and poring over financial documents in helping the school to operate in a financially sound manner. This summer I am due to complete an internship at an investment bank, which I hope will prove to give me an entirely new and more high-pressured environment in which to be involved with financial analysis.

I have also had a really engaging and fun introduction to investing through being part of the Risk Investment Team at my university. As a group of twenty-five students we collectively manage a fund with a total market value of fifteen thousand euros. Over the past four years the fund has delivered an average annual return of 5%, and along the way my classmates and I have learnt a great deal about markets, forecasting and risk analysis. It has also been a great opportunity to get practice in working as part of a team on complex financial issues.

The Risk Investment Club has been just one of many experiences that have confirmed to me that my professional future lies in working in investment analysis, as this is a field that I find thrilling and rewarding in equal measure. However, I know that preparation for this career requires a great deal more than dabbling in shares. It requires real, postgraduate expertise that has been achieved through total immersion in the subject and rigorous assessment. This is what I hope to achieve through completing a Master’s in the United Kingdom.

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